When Summit (NJ) High boys varsity assistant coach Kyle Kirst died unexpectedly at age 47 last June, the local lacrosse community leapt into action to support his wife, Michelle, and five young sons. Praised for his ability to make everyone he came in contact with feel vibrant and valued, all remembered Kyle as a transcendent human being who was a spectacular husband, father, coach, teacher, role model and friend. He forged lasting relationships built on humor, encouragement, trust and love.

In a fitting tribute to a well-loved mentor who embodied the spirit of lacrosse, Bob Sheridan and Harriett Donnelly of the New Jersey Lacrosse Foundation, along with Summit High School varsity head coach Jim Davidson, organized a coaches clinic to raise money while putting Kyle’s passion into action.

Former Team USA U-19 coaches Chuck Apel and Tim Flynn, Harvard Coach Chris Wojzik and Roanoke Coach Bill Pilat were clinicians for more than 100 coaches. Rutgers Coach Brian Brecht showed up with his team to assist with field presentations. Nearly $7,500 was raised for the Kirst Children’s Educational Foundation.

“Kyle had a heart as big as home plate,” said Sheridan. “Everything he did was for the love of lacrosse, family and friends.”

“He cared about every kid, not just our athletes,” said Davidson. “He was the ultimate competitor, but kept a great balance, always focusing on the goal to create great young men.”

Coach Kirst’s incredible spirit will live on and continue to touch lives through the annual Kyle Kirst Coaches Clinic, being held this year on Saturday, October 29, at GoodSports in Wall, N.J.

This article originally appeared in the Spring edition of Lacrosse Matters, a quarterly publication for supporters of US Lacrosse. Download the full newsletter here (PDF).